The New Stuff


How to Use Social Media to Market Your Small Business


If you’re new to the realm of social media marketing, you know what an overwhelming undertaking it can be. If you look up “social networking websites” on Wikipedia, there are currently 200 listed. And once you wade through that ocean of options and decide where to direct your efforts, the fun doesn’t stop there. Read on for some tips on how to maximize your small business social media marketing efforts.

1. Start With the Top Websites
The top three social media websites are Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Account set-up is similar and easy for all three, so that makes for a good starting point. Facebook should be used for conversational postings, Twitter for quick bits of information about your business, and LinkedIn should be used to highlight your industry expertise.

2. Add the Newer Guys Slowly
Once you have a presence on those platforms, dig into some of the newer social media players like Pinterest, Reddit, Tumblr, and Instagram. It takes time and research to figure out which ones are most conducive to your business, but it’s worth putting in the effort. Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram are good for image-based marketing, while Reddit is best for full-length articles. Take your time with each website you use so you clearly understand how they work and make sure what you post is always high-quality.

3. Make Your Content Stellar
No matter which platforms you choose, make sure the content you post is top-notch, informative, creative, and well-written. This is your chance to set yourself apart from the competition, and providing your readers with advice and strategies they’re unlikely to find elsewhere is a great way to do that.

4. Post Often
Your marketing strategy has to be timely and consistent in order for it to work. There’s no one set of rules regarding how often to post, just do it in a scheduled fashion, and more frequently than once a month. Your readers are going to appreciate knowing when to look for new articles.

5. Track Your Progress
You never know if your strategy is working until you track your results. Two of the more popular tools for doing so are Google Analytics and HootSuite. Check which social media outlets the majority of your web traffic is coming through and refocus your efforts there.

6. Engage Your Followers
Posting high quality content is a great way to get your readers interested in your website, but consider doing even more than that. Giveaways and freebies are a great way to engage your followers, and social media fans love getting stuff for free. It could be an eBook you recently put together, a free trial for one of your products, or even a modest gift card. Make it raffle-style and give each one of your commenters one entry per comment or for participation in a poll or survey.

Social media is a goldmine method to market your business, especially since it’s essentially free. However, if you get it wrong or don’t know what you’re doing, it can easily end up being a huge waste of time. For that reason, start off slow and get your feet wet, and always expand with caution. Never let your content suffer, and be sure to respond to each and every comment. That part can be time-consuming, but it’s essential that you establish relationships with your audience. Once you’re more comfortable with the process, the sky is the limit as far as how much you can grow your business.

Have you started marketing your business through social media?

Tony Campbell is a social media specialist who writes tips for small businesses to create their reach online.

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